The New York Times reported today that Color Genomics, a Silicon Valley startup has raised $115 million to make a $249 genetic test a reality. The test identifies faulty BRCA, as well as more than a dozen other cancer-related genes. BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are responsible for increasing women’s risks for developing certain breast and ovarian cancers. Filmmaker and actress Angelina Jolie has made headlines over the past few years for her decisions to undergo a preventive mastectomy, and more recently, a preventive oophorectomy in response to her own gene-related disease risks.Read More
Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog
You might remember that back in 2007 and 2008, no publication felt quite right unless it included at least one trend piece about the trendiest scientific and social development of the time: the spit party. Back then, companies like 23andMe were brand new and for less than $500, you could delve into your ancestral genetics, plus get a peek at your genetically encoded health risks and predispositions. After buying a kit online, you would spit into a receptacle, mail it to a lab, and have your results returned in a few weeks.Read More
No doubt anyone with an interest in personal genomics has heard about 23andMe’s recent run-in with the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has told them to stop marketing their Personal Genome Service because they didn’t have FDA approval for a diagnostic test. 23andMe has complied and now will only report ancestry and genealogy results to new customers.
It was recently announced that the Cleveland Clinic and 23andMe are teaming up to seek out volunteers for a study where patients will be asked to provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis and agree to participate in online surveys about their experience with Parkinson’s Disease to study the interactions between genomics and the disease. I wondered, how powerful is the draw of this kind of personal philanthrophy, when the donation (be it a donation of tissue or participation) is of the self rather than of the pocketbook? And to arrive at such a decision, what are the motivations, reservations, and implications?